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The Most Amazing Red Velvet Cake recipe is moist, fluffy, and has the perfect balance between acidity and chocolate. Top it off with cream cheese frosting for the perfect Red Velvet Cake you’ve been dreaming of!

3 layer Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting

Readers have been requesting The Most Amazing Red Velvet Cake for years.We’ve adapted our recipe for The Most Amazing Chocolate cake to bring you the perfect red velvet cake we know you will love, just as you’ve loved the original chocolate version. It’s not simply a chocolate or a white cake dyed red. It has added acidity to give it a flavor like no other.

Many people wonder, is red velvet cake really just a chocolate cake? While it certainly has a chocolate flavor and cocoa powder as a main ingredient, a red velvet cake is not a chocolate cake. It has far less cocoa powder in it than a traditional chocolate cake recipe.

  • What is the difference between chocolate and red velvet cake?

    This red velvet cake is based off of the recipe for The Most Amazing Chocolate Cake so there are some similarities, but there are also several key differences that gives Red Velvet Cake its unique flavor and texture. Red velvet cake has less cocoa powder added to it so the chocolate flavor is much more mild. Both our chocolate cake and red velvet cake use buttermilk, but buttermilk is a required ingredient for red velvet cake.  It also has vinegar and red food coloring added to it to add acidity and the classic red coloring.

  • What does red velvet cake taste like?

    Red velvet cake has an acidic taste that comes from the use of buttermilk and vinegar as well as the cream cheese in the frosting. The acidity is balanced out by the sweetness of the cake itself. It also has cocoa powder added to it for a mild chocolate flavoring.

  • How can I scale this recipe for difference sizes of pans?

    The distinct flavors of red velvet cake come from the buttermilk, vinegar, cocoa powder, and cream cheese frosting. Some red velvet cake recipes use only a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder, giving virtually no chocolate flavor. This leads some people to think that red velvet cake is simply a white cake dyed red. A true red velvet cake is a distinct chocolate flavor in addition to a slight acidic flavor.

Cake Conversion Guide
  • What gives red velvet cake its flavor?

    The distinct flavors of red velvet cake come from the buttermilk, vinegar, cocoa powder, and cream cheese frosting. Some red velvet cake recipes use only a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder, giving virtually no chocolate flavor. This leads some people to think that red velvet cake is simply a white cake dyed red. A true red velvet cake is a distinct chocolate flavor in addition to a slight acidic flavor.

  • What kind of frosting do you use for red velvet cake?

    Red velvet cake is traditionally made with cream cheese frosting or Ermine frosting

  • Is there a substitute for buttermilk?

    Buttermilk is a key component in this cake recipe. If you don’t have access to buttermilk, please use a buttermilk substitute. There are lots of options and you are sure to find one that you can make work HERE in our article on buttermilk substitutes.

  • What kind of food coloring should I use?

    This recipe was made and tested using red liquid food coloring. You can also use gel food coloring or a natural red food coloring made from beets. You can find a wide variety of natural food dyes on Amazon.

Red Velvet Cake with one slice removed

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in some of our other amazing cake recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

3 layer red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting
The Most Amazing Red Velvet Cake recipe is moist, fluffy, and has the perfect balance between acidity and chocolate. Top it off with cream cheese frosting for the perfect Red Velvet Cake you've been dreaming of!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Ingredients

Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • cups buttermilk
  • cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring

Frosting:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch cake rounds. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
  • Mix together flour, sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer using a low speed until combined.
  • Add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, oil, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring. Beat on a medium speed until smooth. This should take just a couple of minutes.
  • Divide batter among the three prepared pans.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cake meets the toothpick test (stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean).
  • Cool on wire racks for 15 minutes and then turn out the cakes onto the racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • Make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer for best results. Add in vanilla extract. Beat until combined. Beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until frosting is smooth.
  • Assemble and frost the completely cooled cake.
Notes
For a brighter red color, reduce the cocoa powder to 1/4 cup. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 657kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 658mg | Potassium: 191mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 68g | Vitamin A: 830IU | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 1.9mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Red Velvet Cake
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Alison
May 21, 2020 7:47 pm

This cake is great! The only alteration I made was to add 1 1/4 cup strong hot coffee, instant expresso works, instead of warm water. The coffee enhances the flavor of the chocolate giving it that extra bit!

Shea Hogan
April 1, 2020 12:58 pm

4 stars
Great cake. The measurements for liquids in metric form say grams (g) instead of mililiters (ml). I also found that the batter was very wet when I added in the buttermilk so I had to skip adding the warm water. Is this meant to be the case? Overall it’s a good cake, great sponge, I used 2 types of icing and I found that the Ermine worked better with it. It is now going into a recipe book for my teacher for after Covid-19/Coronavirus 2. Thank you for this great recipe.

Amanda
March 1, 2020 10:46 am

4 stars
This is a great cake. Everyone agreed there needs to be more frosting…there’s a ton of cake!

I did cut the sugar in the frosting by approx a cup…as it was getting sweeter, I missed the tang from the cream cheese. Also, I couldn’t get the cake to turn red with that much cocoa powder. Next time I plan on cutting the cocoa by half…both for the taste and the color. It felt more like a chocolate cake, not a red velvet at a 1/2 cup of cocoa.

Electra
May 28, 2020 6:39 pm

Solid cake recipe! <3 Moist, tangy, great structure! I used Ghirardelli cocoa powder and Americolor coloring. Tip: color the cake MUCH brighter and more 'red' than you think is necessary. My batter was fire engine red and once out of the oven it was classic red velvet color! I was able to halve the recipe easily and placed it in a greased lined 9×13. Cut into circles for layered cakes in jars. Ended up rising to the perfect height! Little to no dome. My only regret is not sifting my dry ingredients. I wish i did as there were some… Read more »

Eve
September 11, 2020 9:05 pm
Reply to  Electra

Hi! Do you mind sharing your cream cheese recipe? hihi

Bagya
November 18, 2020 6:57 am
Reply to  Eve

Yes please. Can we have.

Ningy Ntombela
April 17, 2020 4:18 am

5 stars
I baked red velvet for the first time using this recipe. The cake was divine????????????????
Thank you.

Sarah
May 31, 2020 12:43 am

5 stars
Iv been looking for red velvet recipes( that tastes closest to the one we get from Metro Canada) since a year and finally came across this one.
This red velvet rocks😋
I made this cake following the exact recipe…
It tastes perfect 👌🏼
But I have a question!
Why my frosting was a bit runny?and it doesn’t have that crispy cream texture that we feel while eating the one from Metro.?

chantal
August 9, 2020 10:05 pm
Reply to  Sarah

I would just add more powered sugar make icing thicker

Julia
August 10, 2020 5:19 am
Reply to  Sarah

When making my frosting, I only add 8 ounces of cream cheese n one stick of butter instead of the two of each. Same amount of powder sugar and it comes out great.. Try that and see if it works for u one teaspoon of vanilla extract and it’s a done deal..

Saira
August 29, 2020 11:08 am
Reply to  Sarah

This also happened with my frosting. It was very runny.

Sel
October 29, 2020 5:50 pm
Reply to  Sarah

probably the butter or cream cheese is not yet at room temp. Happens to me once in a while

Laylah Halil
August 24, 2020 9:38 am

A fairly good recipe which case out well. It would be handy to have the ingredients in grams and mls to check I am using the accurate amounts- in the uk we don’t tend to have cup measurements. The sponge was lovely although mine didn’t come out a bright red… this may have been my food colouring or too much coco powder. My only grievance with this recipe is the frosting… it makes so much… to much for The cake and it was very runny… I kept adding loads more icing sugar- finished the whole box and it was still… Read more »

RADHIKA THAKRAR
September 3, 2020 4:01 am
Reply to  Laylah Halil

Hi Laylah, the metric measurements are there at the bottom of the ingredients list. Click the metric button to convert! 🙂

Mia
April 27, 2020 11:06 am

5 stars
So delicious!! It tasted even better the second day. I ended up needing a lot more powdered sugar to thicken the frosting.

Sera Kasamale
April 18, 2020 6:34 am

Oh this red velvet cake recipe is just so woow! My family really enjoyed it amidst lockdown holidays. Thanx for sharing it!

September 8, 2019 2:28 pm

5 stars
The cake was Awesome! I made it in a bundt pan for 1 hr. The icing just melts in your mouth with every bite. Thank you for this great recipe.

Nossie Jackson
September 16, 2020 12:32 pm

5 stars
I made this cake and it was excellent.in the frosting I use 4 packages of cream cheese and 1//2 cup of butter and powdered sugar to desire thickness.

Lillian R. Hoffman
September 1, 2020 8:01 pm

So, this was my first time ever making red velvet cake and it was a hit! A lot of the people who tried it said it didn’t taste as bitter as some red velvet cakes taste. I did also choose to reduce the cocoa powder to 1/4 of a cup so that it’ll be more red, which was certainly a good call. At first I was concerned because the batter was super runny, almost just straight up liquid, but it still baked up beautifully and was moist. I did leave it in for a few more minutes since I was… Read more »

Haritha
April 3, 2020 1:38 pm

5 stars
I’m definitely going to try it out… I just love the red velvet cake and nothing can match the taste of it

Justin Reyes
April 2, 2020 4:20 pm

5 stars
Never made a red velvet cake before. Used this recipe and it was a instant hit with my family!! Loved it!!

November 19, 2020 1:18 pm

I made this last week for a friend after making another from a different recipe this was by far the best cake it was gorgeous. It made three deep 8 inch cakes. She loved it. Thanks for the recipe.

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